Grieving the death of a loved one is one of the most painful things each person must face. It’s hard to process the shock of your beloved friend or family member having passed away and accept the finality of their death. Grief has left you feeling a little off balance, shaken up. You’re looking for your new normal. And it’s taking a toll. Not only on your own emotions, but on your relationship or marriage.
You & Your Spouse May Mourn Differently
The process of mourning is a very personal experience. Because grief is so personal, each person reacts differently to the death of a loved one. One spouse may have the instinct may be to reach out and connect. Another partner may retreat, distract themselves with work or hobbies or shut down.
Your relationship with the deceased was a unique one. Therefore, the process in which you grieve the loss will also be unique and personal to you. The close friends and family that you would expect to be there for you in one of the most challenging times of your life may not be present in the way you’d hoped or anticipated. It’s not unusual for people to feel less connected to people in their lives as they go through grief. Even your spouse or partner may not provide the comfort you’d expect.
Grief Changes Relationships
It’s disappointing and hurtful to experience what feels like a breakdown in your relationships when you need them the most. Yet, you must realize that your friends, family and spouse are likely also affected by grief. They are going through their own process of mourning; it just looks different from your own.
It’s also important not to rely solely on your spouse for comfort. It’s healthier for both of you, and will ease the stress on your marriage, if you have other people to turn to for help.
The impact of grief is an incredible strain on your existing relationships, as who you are as a person is temporarily altered as you struggle to cope with the loss and find a way to move forward. Your close friends and loved ones may have difficulty coping with how you’re mourning, causing them to pull away temporarily. They could also be very used to seeing you as a source of strength, and a pillar, and seeing you in this vulnerable state (in addition to possibly dealing with their own grief) is more than they can bear.
Seek Support During Times of Loss
Maintaining relationships takes effort, and they’re vulnerable to the difficulties we face as we move through life. You may need to turn to distant family members, other friends or acquaintances, make new connections through bereavement groups or seek professional help from a mental health counselor to find solace and understanding.
Although we can expect bereavement to change our relationships, we can also expect some semblance of normalcy as everyone affected copes with the loss over the passage of time. By forgiving friends or loved ones who weren’t there for you as you dealt with your grief, you can re-establish lost connections.
Couples Counseling As Support During Times of Grief
Every person’s experience with grief is unique, but you and your partner can get on the same page and support one another. If you’re having difficulty with your relationships as you grieve and need some understanding and guidance, couples or marriage counseling may help you reconnect with your spouse or partner. At my Cincinnati counseling office, I specialize in working with couples. I am an experienced couples therapist and can help you and your partner better communicate with one another. Contact me today to set up a free consultation or intake appointment for you and your partner.
Still Unsure if Counseling is for You?
Other Counseling Services in Cincinnati
In addition to working with couples, I offer individual counseling in my Cincinnati therapy office as well. Individual counseling services at my office include anxiety treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy (cbt) for depression and career counseling.